16 • Texas Lone Star • May 2018 • texaslonestaronline.org
fields and scouting troops and kindergartens. “We just kind
of overlook our differences,” says 17-year-old Khue Tran. “I
don’t really ask someone about their ethnicity. We disregard
that and focus on who they are and what their interests are.”
In other words, Pflugervillians have each other’s backs.
What’s more, they seem to understand how rare and wonder-
ful that is.
“Teenagers and public schools seem to get bad press.
Some of it is valid, but some of it is just sensationalism,” Ross
says. “We need to shine more light on all the good to make
people more hopeful and positive about our country and its
Dealing with Tough Topics
It’s not all sticky notes and pep rallies, either. Accustomed to mutual respect and understanding, the students
were shocked by the 2014 shooting and protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and the incidents made them wonder whether
their community was at risk, as well. In response, they
created monthly panels called To Be Honest. The discussions
feature students and teachers debating hot-button topics
such as racism, gender stereotypes, and dress codes.
“Our lives are measured by our treatment of others, and
these current students are learning to be incredible role models,” Suzette Boggs, a 1978 graduate, posted on the Reader’s
Digest Facebook page.
Every school has troubled students and teachers, and
Pflugerville is hardly perfect. Students complain about some
of the same irritations that turn up elsewhere, from the dress
code to the broken bathroom stalls to the sense that “football
guys get away with murder,” as one graduate says. (Maybe
there’s a reason for that: The pilot for the TV show Friday
Night Lights, about a football-obsessed Texas high school, was
filmed in Pflugerville.) More seriously, a student allegedly
started a bathroom fire this past year, and two teachers in the
past three years resigned after reportedly using racial slurs in
school (though some students said they thought that “
political correctness” was the real villain).
“We do have the same problems that other schools
have,” Ross says. “They just seem fewer here, more of an
Aspiring to Be Good
But Pflugerville doesn’t aspire to perfection. It just wants
to be good, in the purest sense of the word. You see that in a
program such as Ready-Set-Teach. It pairs students considering careers in education with young and special-needs kids.
The results often take the teachers by surprise. For instance,
when an autistic student had an outburst at a track meet
recently because the competition kept him from his habitual
Pflugerville doesn’t aspire
to perfection. It just wants
to be good, in the purest
sense of the word. You
see that in a program
such as Ready-Set-Teach.